Joshua vows to stick by trainer who guides him past ‘snakes and sharks’

Evening Times - - SPORT | BACK LINE -

AN­THONY JOSHUA has launched an im­pas­sioned de­fence of his trainer Rob McCracken fol­low­ing the crit­i­cism that fol­lowed his stun­ning knockout de­feat to Andy Ruiz in June.

Joshua in­sisted he never con­sid­ered re­plac­ing McCracken, who will once again be in his cor­ner for the 30-year-old’s re­match in Saudi Ara­bia on De­cem­ber 7.

McCracken’s tac­tics were heav­ily crit­i­cised by for­mer world cham­pion Len­nox Lewis among others, while the trainer’s ad­mis­sion that he al­lowed Joshua to fight on de­spite fear­ing he was con­cussed also drew crit­i­cism.

But Joshua, who has had McCracken by his side since he first joined the GB Boxing set-up in

Sh­effield in 2010, in­sisted his in­flu­ence is strong and im­por­tant enough to pros­per even in the wake of such a stun­ning set­back.

Joshua said: “Rob is more than a trainer. He helped me when I got kicked off the GB squad and they didn’t want me back on, but Rob spoke up for me.

“It’s good to have some­one around you who can guide you through the snakes and sharks of the in­dus­try. Rob has been through it all him­self and there are years of un­der­stand­ing be­tween us.

“Rob is more than just a pad man. There are a mil­lion pad men out there, but you have to be se­lec­tive about who can guide you. We have added things for sure, but we are never go­ing to change.”

Joshua has armed him­self with a keen sense of per­spec­tive in the months fol­low­ing his loss to Ruiz, a late re­place­ment who was con­sid­ered a mere step­ping stone to big­ger uni­fi­ca­tion bouts against the likes of Tyson Fury and Deon­tay Wilder.

He in­sists that train­ing back at the GB head­quar­ters in Sh­effield, where his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer be­gan amid bud­get ho­tel stays and strict group train­ing ses­sions, will give him a cru­cial ad­van­tage as he seeks the win that will res­ur­rect his ca­reer.

“I’ve learned a lot of things from the de­feat,” added Joshua. “I’ve learned to take a loss like a man, and to be thank­ful that I have a sec­ond op­por­tu­nity to go again.

“I don’t like to talk about it too much be­cause the thing that goes on the record is the loss, not the de­scrip­tion. It def­i­nitely had an ef­fect on me, but it takes more than that to knock a man like me back.”

WORLD cham­pion para ath­let­ics long jumper Stef Reid has been named as UK Ath­let­ics’ new vice-pres­i­dent.

Reid, 35, is a five-time world record holder and won gold in Lon­don at the 2017 IPC World Cham­pi­onships.

Her other ti­tles in­clude Par­a­lympic long jump sil­vers for Great Bri­tain in 2012 and 2016 as well as bronze in the 200m while rep­re­sent­ing Canada in 2008. Reid was also an ath­lete rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the board at Lon­don 2017.

“I am hon­oured and ex­cited to be work­ing with the UKMC [UK mem­bers’ coun­cil]. I love ath­let­ics, and there are lots of re­ally great things go­ing on in our sport,” said Reid.

“When done well, sport cre­ates great peo­ple and great com­mu­ni­ties, and I want to help this cy­cle to con­tinue.”

Pres­i­dent of UK Ath­let­ics Jason Gar­dener said: “Her knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence of the Par­a­lympic pro­gramme will add sig­nif­i­cant value to en­hanc­ing the func­tion of the UKMC and Bri­tish Ath­let­ics.

“On be­half of the UKMC we are look­ing for­ward to her con­tri­bu­tion as we pre­pare for a suc­cess­ful Par­a­lympic and Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.”

Mean­while, For­mer marathon world record holder Paula Rad­cliffe will coach for­mer Nike Ore­gon Pro­ject ath­lete Jor­dan Hasay, the American has an­nounced.

Hasay, 28, wrote on In­sta­gram: “I’m ex­cited and hon­oured to have Paula Rad­cliffe as my coach­ing ad­vi­sor.”

Ben­jamin Poke of Den­mark (cen­tre) cel­e­brates vic­tory dur­ing day six of the Euro­pean Tour Qual­i­fy­ing School Final Stage at Lu­mine Lakes Golf Course

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